PLO Strategy and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

by Penny Johnson
published in MER136

Alain Gresh, The PLO: The Struggle Within (London: Zed Press, 1985).

Over the past several years in the Occupied Territories, Palestinian intellectuals and activists close to the PLO mainstream have met with Israelis from a number of political factions represented in the Knesset. Their apparent aim has been to influence the elusive center of the Israeli Labor Party.

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The Emerging Trade Union Movement in the West Bank

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER136

The last several months have witnessed an intensive Israeli crackdown against Palestinian political activists in the Occupied Territories. Since the summer, at least 21 Palestinians have been deported, and more than 80 arrested. Although the military authorities have attributed their renewed “iron fist” approach to the series of individual and apparently spontaneous assaults on Israeli troops and settlers, they have targeted key political and trade union leaders with valid residence permits and no criminal records. They have not been charged with any specific offense.

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"Poverty Is Not the Issue"

by Joe Stork
published in MER136

Henry Selz was for the last nine years the Middle East representative of American Near East Refugee Aid, based in East Jerusalem. He spoke with Joe Stork and Tom Russell in Washington in late August 1985.

You worked in the West Bank for nine years. How has your assessment of the situation changed from when you first got involved?

When I came, I thought it was a transitional situation. It certainly seems to me that any resolution is farther off now than it was when I arrived nine years ago.

How does Israel’s economic crisis affect the situation for the people under occupation?

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Palestinians Arrested in Los Angeles Witch-hunt

by Judith Gabriel
published in MER145

It was the West Coast, not the West Bank, but for many Palestinians, the unfolding dragnet scenario had an all-too-familiar ring.

Shortly after dawn on the morning of January 26, agents of the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and local police arrested eight Palestinians and the Kenyan-born wife of one of them.

Covering the Christians of the Holy Land

by Amahl Bishara
published in MER267

Every year around Christmas and Easter, a kind of meta-ritual takes place in which American journalists describe how these holidays are celebrated in the “Holy Land.” It is a long-running story, never stripped of politics. In 1923, for example, the New York Times published a classically Orientalist opposition of here and there, us and them. Easter in Jerusalem was a “frenzy of devotion,” “an annual release of the entire community, such as you and I in New York know nothing of. Somewhere in the centuries during which our ancestors were moving westward from the Middle East we have lost the gift of it and we have never recaptured it.” [1]

Gaza: Israel's Soweto

by Joan Mandell
published in MER136

Gaza is Israel’s Soweto. Each has its own lexicon but similar reference points. The “township” becomes here the refugee camp. Military occupation, like apartheid, means segregation in residence, employment, politics, education and law. In Gaza, the pass card is known as an identity card. Here “removal” becomes “deportation.” In other respects, the vocabulary is identical: labor reserve, arrest, detention, imprisonment, demolition.

No Going Back?

Women and the Palestinian Movement

by Julie Peteet
published in MER138

During the early stages of national political formation in the Middle East, when crises prevail and mass mobilization is a major organizing strategy, political movements often recruit women and the domestic sector into the political arena. Continuous crises, from which the domestic sector is not immune, compel women to participate. This was the case in the pre-1982 Palestinian community in Lebanon.

Recent Films

by Miriam Rosen
published in MER149

Aqabat Jaber: Passing Through. Directed by Eyal Sivan. Produced and distributed by Dune Vision, 1987.

Rissala... Min Zamen al-Harb (Letter from a Time of War). Directed by Borhan Alaouie. Produced and distributed by France Media, 1986.

Zahrat al-Kindoul: Women of South Lebanon. Directed by Jean Chamoun and Mai Masri. Produced by MTC Lebanon, 1986. Distributed in the US by Camera News Inc.

Three recent documentaries, one dealing with the Palestinians and two with the war in Lebanon, were among the films screened at the Cinema du Reel, an international festival of ethnographic and sociological films, held in Paris this March.

Police Riot in Yarmuk

by Joe Stork
published in MER149

Just after midnight on May 15, 1986, some 75 Special Forces of the Public Security Department stormed a dormitory at Yarmuk University to put an end to a student demonstration. They tear-gassed and clubbed the students with “a zeal that bordered on the ruthless,” according to witnesses. At least three and probably six students -- men and women -- were killed in the melee, scores were injured and hundreds detained. Three of those killed were Palestinians.

Naji al-'Ali Remembered

by Joan Mandell
published in MER149

A ragged, barefoot boy, hands clutched behind his back, stands witness to the scene before him. The small boy in the cartoon is Naji al-‘Ali, popular cartoonist, at age 10, when he was expelled from his native Palestine to Lebanon in 1948. Naji used to say that the boy was a symbol of the Palestinian people and, more personally, of his aborted youth. “They tell little children to turn their backs, but I don’t turn. The boy is the age I was when I left Palestine, and he will not grow up until I return.”